Currently reading: Volkswagen T-Roc R: hot compact SUV on sale from £38,450
Performance crossover closely follows segment-leading Golf R hot hatchback with 296bhp and a top speed of 155mph

The new Volkswagen T-Roc R is now available to order in the UK, with prices starting from £38,450. 

Standard equipment includes white paint, 19in alloy wheels and Volkswagen's latest Active Info Display system. Other colours are available from £360-£1075, while a leather-and-carbonfibre interior package can be equipped for an additional £2155 and an Akrapavoič sports exhaust system for £3000. 

Revealed at the Geneva motor show in March, the T-Roc R is set to become one of the major players in the burgeoning performance crossover market.

It's as closely related to the Volkswagen Golf R as lesser versions are to the regular Golf, sharing the same powertrain and base suspension components. 

That means it has the Volkswagen Group’s EA888 turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine (fitted with a particulate filter and in 296bhp tune), part-time Haldex-based all-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. 

Volkswagen claims a 4.9sec 0-62mph time – 0.3sec slower than the Golf R but 0.3sec quicker than the Cupra Ateca – and an electronically governed top speed of 155mph.

Despite a close hardware relationship with the Ateca and the Audi SQ2, settings are unique for each car. Although it sits higher than the Golf, the T-Roc R is 20mm closer to the ground than the standard T-Roc, thanks to lower suspension and firmer settings. Passive dampers are standard, but Volkswagen’s Dynamic Chassis Control system can be specified for £695. 

The T-Roc R gets 19in alloy wheels and the beefy 17in brakes from the Golf R Performance as standard.

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Other visual changes include chunkier bumpers, an anodised finish for the front grille, matt chrome mirror caps and R badges. The interior gets some carbonfibre trim and a sportier steering wheel, plus the option of the Golf R’s sport seats. 

Q&A with Jost Capito, R division boss

What are the fundamentals of the R brand? 

“It is all-wheel drive, it is sporty and – after discussions with customers in a lot of countries – we know they want to see cars around 300 horsepower. People say why not go higher, but we need to hit a certain price, a sweet spot: we sell more than 20,000 Golf Rs a year.” 

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How do you stop confusion with GTI models? 

“Firstly, they have two-wheel drive, but also they are more extreme. The R models have to be less racy, but with the same capability or even more. They always have more horsepower but are more about everyday usage. A TCR or Clubsport is much more aggressive. The GTI is in Up, Polo and Golf – and we are saying that R is starting with Golf.” 

So will there be several other R models? 

“The task I’ve been given is to make R to Volkswagen what M is for BMW. That means different positioning from just having a Golf R. There will be a wider spread. For the future, the Golf and T-Roc will not be the only ones, that’s for sure.” 

Read more

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Price match promise: Volkswagen Golf R vs first-gen Audi R8​

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